13 passengers sent to hospital after Boeing 737 depressurization incident on Korea-Taiwan flight

Fifteen passengers reported eardrum pain and other symptoms, and 13 were sent to hospital, after a Korean Air flight bound for Taichung City, Taiwan, experienced a sudden cabin depressurization incident yesterday, June 22.

According to Yonhap News Agency, Korean Air Flight KE-189 departed Incheon Airport at 4:45pm with 130 passengers and crew aboard. However, around 50 minutes into the flight a “pressure system abnormality” occurred. The aircraft was turned around and landed back at Incheon Airport at 7:38pm.

Taiwanese passengers on board the flight took to social media to describe a frightening ordeal as the plane suddenly descended from more than 30,000 feet to 9,000 feet, with emergency oxygen masks deploying.

One passenger said that the plane plummeted three times, creating G-forces akin to riding a rollercoaster. “It was more terrifying than riding the 5G Roller Coaster,” the passenger said, referring to a well-known amusement park ride in Taiwan’s Yunlin County.

South Korea’s Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism said that 15 passengers developed ear pain on the return flight, and 13 people were rushed to hospital after landing. There were no reports of serious injury.

Korean Air said that the affected passengers will take an alternative flight to Taichung at 10:30 am, June 23.

The Boeing 737-8 aircraft has been plagued with a series of major safety incidents in recent years. There have been at least 9 major flight safety incidents, including two involving fatal crashes.

oxygen masks drop
Passengers don oxygen masks after depressurization incident aboard Korean Air KE-189, June 22, 2024.
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